The Distributed National Collections (DNC) program is an annual, ongoing program directed at the identification, development, conservation, maintenance and display of collections of nationally significant artistic or cultural material.

The training, professional development, partnering and networking, collection support and management activities supported by the DNC program are intended to assist in achieving this aim, and to support the strengthening of best practice in the museums and galleries sector.

The DNC program consists of three sub-programs which are designed to assist small-to-medium community organisations to identify, collect, develop, conserve, preserve, maintain and display objects or collections of nationally-significant material. These sub-programs are:

  • Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program, administered by the National Library of Australia (NLA)
  • Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS), administered by the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM); and
  • Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) National Conference Bursary (Bursary) program, administered by AMaGA.

The DNC program is not open to the public. However, the NLA, ANMM and AMaGA each run open and competitive rounds for the respective sub‑programs.

Community Heritage Grants program

The CHG program awards grants of up to $20,000 to Australian not-for-profit, incorporated community organisations to enable them to undertake projects involving the management, preservation, conservation and storage of objects or collections that are publicly accessible, locally held, and nationally significant to the cultural heritage of Australia. In addition to cash grants, each successful first-time awarded organisation receives practical preservation and collections management guidance and training.

Funded projects usually follow a sequential path that may include some or all of the following:

  • a significance assessment of a collection
  • a preservation of needs assessment of a collection
  • collection management training workshops
  • purchasing of conservation storage equipment and collection management software
  • digitisation of an audio-visual collection.

For more information about the CHG program, visit

Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme

MMAPSS offers grants of up to $15,000 to incorporated not-for-profit organisations, such as a museums, historical societies or community-based organisations, to help preserve or display objects of national and historical maritime significance, and up to $3,000 for staff and volunteers from eligible organisations to spend time learning specific skills and making valuable connections through the Maritime Museum Administrators' Course. MMAPSS grants fall into one of the following categories:

  • Collection management (registration, documentation and storage)
  • Conservation (preservation, vessel restoration, conservation work/treatments and professional assessments)
  • Presentation (research, development of exhibitions, establishing interpretative displays and workshops)
  • Development of relevant education or public programs which make collections more accessible to audiences
  • Placements with the Maritime Museum Administrators' Course for paid or unpaid workers of not-for-profit organisations caring for Australia's maritime collections to help develop museological skills and knowledge to increase standards of practice in caring for and managing maritime collections.

For more information about MMAPSS, visit

Australian Museums and Galleries Association National Conference Bursary program

Under the Bursary program, AMaGA provides bursaries to cultural heritage sector delegates living and working/volunteering in regional and remote Australia, and Indigenous cultural heritage sector delegates from across Australia, to engage in professional development, learning, exchange of expertise and networking by attending and/or presenting at the annual National Conference and/or the Regional, Remote and Community Day. The level of funding is typically around $500–$1000 per recipient.

For more information about AMaGA, visit